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Here's Why Harry Styles Isn't Playing Prince Eric in 'The Little Mermaid'

Here's Why Harry Styles Isn't Playing Prince Eric in 'The Little Mermaid'

Prince Eric and Harry Styles

Director Rob Marshall explains what went down.

Once Disney had cast Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel in its live action The Little Mermaid, fans immediately started wondering who would be cast opposite her as Prince Eric, with one of the most popular choices being singer Harry Styles.

Instead, Jonah Hauer-King was cast in the Rob Marshall-directed film. But, now we know just how close Styles came to getting the role.

In an interview with EW, Marshall confirmed that he did meet with Styles and explained why the casting didn’t work out.

“We met with him. He was lovely. What a wonderful guy,” Marshall said about Styles, “But at the end of the day, he really felt like he wanted to go off and do the movies that he ended up doing, which were sort of darker.”

"For a lot of young musical people like Harry, you're trying to carve your way and you don't wanna be seen as a singer, necessarily," Marshall continued. "That's why he was really looking to do something not in the musical genre, to really stretch himself. It was really a fun idea to play with, but in the end, I always think things happen for a reason. I'm so happy to have two young, new people in the film."

Instead of The Little Mermaid, Styles starred in two movies last year: My Policeman and Don’t Worry Darling. In My Policeman he played a gay policeman in 1950’s Brighton. In Don’t Worry Darling, he played a husband and father living in a seemingly idyllic town that has sinister secrets.

The Little Mermaid also stars Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. It features new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken. It will be released in theaters May 26, 2023.

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